What the Airbag Light On a Nissan Versa Means

The Nissan Versa airbag light turns on to warn you about a fault in the airbag system. Get it checked out sooner rather than later.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Pat Roache
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If the airbag warning light on your Nissan Versa’s instrument panel comes on, this means there is likely an issue with your Versa’s supplemental restraint system (SRS), or as us normals call it, the airbag. If your airbag warning light comes in, bring your Versa to a Nissan dealership or a trusted mechanic as soon as you can.
All Nissan Versa drivers should know what’s at stake when their airbag warning light pops on in their instrument panel. We’ll go over what it means, the likely causes, and how to reset your airbag warning light, so long as nothing is wrong with the airbag system. Even if you’re not a
car repair
expert, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

What does the airbag light mean on a Nissan Versa?

Every time you turn your prized Versa on, its computer system does a scan of all the Versa’s vehicle systems for any problems, including any involving your airbag system. If a problem is detected with the Versa’s supplemental restraint system, the
airbag indicator light
will pop on and begin to blink.
If you’re wondering what the airbag warning light on your Versa means, we’ve got you. You’ll see a passenger figure strapped to a seat with a wide circle shape in front of it, denoting the airbag. This icon will be colored red. You may also see the letters SRS blink on your dashboard. 
There are many reasons why the airbag warning light could come on, but we’ll focus on the most common ones, as listed below:
  • Malfunctioning sensors: The sensors in your Versa instruct the
    airbag control module
    when to deploy the front or side airbags. If these sensors malfunction or break down, your airbag warning light will turn on.
  • Broken airbag module: The airbag system’s “nerve center”, the airbag module, is what tells your airbags to deploy, based on information from the car’s sensors. If the airbag module is malfunctioning or broken, your airbag warning light will turn on. Check your car owner’s manual to know where the module is located on your Versa.
  • Wiring problems: A series of wires connect your Versa’s airbag system to the airbag control module. These wires can become frayed or torn, which would cause the airbag warning light to pop on.
  • Drained airbag backup battery: If your Versa’s
    car battery
    is dying, the airbag backup battery might end up sending power to the car. Of course, this would drain the airbag backup battery, causing the airbag light to light up.
  • Damaged airbag clock spring: Like any other spring, the airbag clock spring can wear out and stop working. In a Versa, the airbag clock spring sits inside the steering wheel, where it expands and contracts with every turn of the steering wheel to maintain electrical continuity with your driver-side airbag. If this spring wears out? The airbag light will come on.
While these are the most common reasons for the airbag warning light to come on in your Nissan Versa, they aren’t the only reasons to cause this. If you own an OBD-II scan tool, you can scan for car OBD codes to figure out what’s causing the airbag light to come on. Otherwise, take your car to a mechanic to identify the problem and get it repaired.
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What you need to know about the Nissan Versa airbag recalls

Since 2012, there have been nine separate recalls for the Versa’s airbags in both sedan and hatchback models. Seven of those recalls were for what was essentially the same problem—an airbag inflator with phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant that could explode due to high humidity and temperature cycles
If an explosion occurs, metal fragments could eject inside the cabin and cause serious injury or death. Unfortunately, Nissan had to make the same recall for the Versa multiple times. This specific type of recall was issued in the following years for the Versa models specified:
  • January 2020: 2007-2011 Versa sedan and hatchbacks 
  • July 2018: 2007-2008 Versa sedan and hatchbacks
  • June 2018: 2011 Nissan Versa sedan and 2011-2012 Versa hatchbacks
  • January 2018: 2009-2012 Nissan Versa hatchbacks, 2011 Versa sedan
  • July 2017: 2007-2011 Nissan Versa sedan, 2007-2012 Versa hatchbacks
  • January 2017: 2012 Versa hatchbacks and 2007-2008 Versa sedans
  • May 2016: 2007-2011 Versa sedans
The first airbag recall for the Nissan Versa was in February 2012 involving side-curtain airbags. The issue was an incorrect propellant mixture for the initiator component—this could delay the deployment of the airbag, leaving the driver and/or passengers vulnerable to injury.
A separate airbag recall was issued by Nissan in March 2017 due to the degradation of side impact sensor connector pins. A slammed door could cause seat-mounted and curtain airbags to deploy unexpectedly, causing injury.

How to reset the airbag warning light on a Nissan Versa

Sometimes, there is no issue with your Versa’s airbag system, and the warning light simply needs to be reset. Doing so is easy, so just follow these steps:
  • First, turn your ignition to the ON position but do not start your engine. The airbag warning light will light up and flash.
  • Once the airbag warning light turns off (a few seconds), turn the ignition off before the airbag warning light pops on again.
  • Wait 5 seconds, and now turn the ignition back ON.
  • Repeat these steps twice more for a total of three times. The blinking pattern should start to change.
  • Once this process has been completed three times, wait 5 seconds before starting the Versa’s engine.
Now when you start your Versa sedan or hatchback, the airbag warning light should go off after a few seconds. If the light remains on, try the above process again. If the airbag light remains on, get your vehicle checked out by a Nissan dealership or a trusted mechanic.

Is it OK to drive with the Nissan Versa airbag light on?

Technically yes, as the airbag system won’t impede the operation of your Nissan Versa. That said, driving with the airbag light on is not a smart thing to do, and is not recommended
If you are in an accident and the airbags don’t deploy as designed, or if an airbag malfunction results in injury or worse, you will have lost your last line of defense. Airbags are vital to the safety of both driver and passenger. If the airbag light is on, your car is telling you there is a problem, and it needs to be addressed before it’s too late.
MORE: How long can you drive with the check engine light on?
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